Sunday, January 1, 2012

happy new year from taiwan!

So as of right now Taiwan is in 2012 while America is still stuck in 2011. I spent New Year's Eve in Taipei just like every other person who lives in northern Taiwan. There was a big New Year's Eve party happening at the Civic Center, adjacent to Taipei 101, where there were concerts and stuff going on. Tried to approach the concert area but was put off by all the people. The streets around Taipei 101 were closed off to traffic and there were thousands and thousands of people camping on the street. To get a good view, we headed over to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall which has an awesome view of the Taipei 101 building. There were thousands of people here also. Waited for an hour before the countdown started and when it happened, people were screaming it in Chinese and it went fast, unlike how in America the countdown is drawn out like 10......9.......8........ People were just saying
十,九,七... super fast. Lol. The firework display off of the Taipei 101 building is seriously one of the best fireworks show I've seen ever. The fireworks are set off at different levels of the building and there is such coordination between it all that it is pretty amazing. Is it naive of me to think that this is all human-coordinated and not by a machine?? In addition to the awesomeness of the Taipei 101 fireworks, random people who buy fireworks are also setting them off around the city. It's totally legal here. So amazing is the firework display at Taipei 101 even my little 5 and 6 year old students know that it occurs and many of them told me they would also be trekking it to Taipei with their parents to see it.

taipei 101 is exploding!
So much fireworks are being lit and fired off that the smoke totally obscures the whole building. Notice all the cellphone and camera lights in front of me. This was only a small section of the thousands and thousands of people crowded in here.

fireworks amazing!
I spent most of the time taking videos, so don't really have much pictures of the fireworks display. The show ended with words flashing on Taipei 101 that said Taiwan Top and a thumbs up symbol. I agree Taiwan, you are pretty awesome, especially with the fireworks!

thousands and thousands of people
The crowd went on for miles. I loved walking amongst everyone because not only was it crowded but it was so fun to just go "woot" every once in awhile and just absorb the amazingness of it all. Haha I'm totally a "woot" girl.  All the people here were heading to the MRT stations. This brings to mind the time I spent New Year's Eve with Megan in Madrid. The crowd was crazy and everyone was pushing to try to reach the metro station because it stopped at 1am or something. The brillant-ness of Taipei is that the MRT runs all night, including the buses that go back to different cities. No one was pushing and acting crazy. Every city should do this. There was a lot of MRT workers and police officers on duty making sure everything went smoothly. Also there were emergency stations located  around the area to help.

The SYS Memorial Hall station was packed with people waiting in line to go to the MRT so we just walked 10 minutes down the street to the next MRT stop, which was empty. I don't know who planned it but everything was super efficient. Right when we got there the MRT train was empty and we even got seats, I believe they label some of the trains with a "no service" sign so that people at other stations have a chance to get on and not just fill up at the really crowded stations near Taipei 101. Trains come every couple minutes. So efficient! Again no pushing or crazyness! Love it. Added to this is that while waiting for the countdown to begin, I didn't see anyone who was drinking or acting drunk, unlike what happened in Spain, where people were peeing and puking on the streets. Super family friendly in Taipei. People were drinking Starbucks or milk tea. Also no New Year's kissing between couples in Taiwan! How-tai is one of the bus lines that is opened 24 hours for this day and when we got to the bus station, there wasn't even a line! Somehow it was more empty and faster on New Years than it is on a regular day in Taipei. It took us an hour to get back to Hsinchu. No traffic on the road = super fast arrival time. If you can't tell I had a great time! I hope everyone in America has a great New Year too. I'll write about what I did during the day in Taipei and about last weeks trip to Sun Moon Lake later on.

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